Betsy's most recent book is Lost Prince, book one of the Salt Road Saga, an erotic space opera. Sentinel: Archive of Fire, the first book of her urban fantasy series featuring demons rebelling against Asmodai, King of Hell, is her January 2012 release, available soon from Whiskey Creek Press. Her short fiction has appeared in many print and online venues, including the anthology Deadly by the Dozen.
The Twins from the Dew Drop In by Betsy Dornbusch, Guest Blogger
Fifteen years ago and a few hours to the day my book Sentinel: Archive of Fire, comes out, I celebrated New Year’s Eve in the Dew Drop Inn.
It’s in the middle of some woods in Berkshire, England and it’s been there for about 400 years. I recall driving for a long time down a tree-lined, shadowy road lightened only by snowpack. I remember lots of beer and laughing on our parts. The place was quiet with just a few regulars, and I think my brother and I and our spouses livened it considerably.
Amid the revelry, I looked up and saw, in my mind’s eye, a couple of guys walk in the door. They were only in their 20s but hardened by something horrible. Much too stern for their age - especially the one - like soldiers just off the battlefield. Though black cloaks flapped around their heels, they wore present day street clothes. They were there to meet someone. Someone dangerous. They looked us over, determined us harmless, though they didn’t like my curiosity. And they were definitely twins.
Fast forward seven years. My son was three and my daughter was a couple of months old. My husband left on a business trip. And abruptly, the twins from the Dew Drop Inn …well, dropped in.
I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote some more. Nearly 800,000 words of Aidan and Kaelin’s story.
Pity the writing sucked.
Fast forward eight more years. Critique groups. Classes. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Conferences. Science Fiction Conventions. Reading stories for Electric Spec. Selling stories. Writing and selling erotica. Studying my craft. I dismantled the book and reassembled it. Set it aside. Rinse, repeat. The twins refused to be put away. Aidan shouts at me. Kaelin, not so much. He just watches me and waits with infinite patience. Almost on a whim I submitted it to the regular side of my erotica publisher, Whiskey Creek Press. They bought it in three days.
Funny thing about first books verses second books, though technically, Archive of Fire is my fourth release. You get fifteen years to mull over the first one. You get a year and change, if you’re lucky, to write the second.
I’ll give away the book to some lucky commenter. I also thought I’d throw in a snippet from the middle. Our boys are just coming to grips with the sharp left turn their lives have taken.
Kaelin closed the distance between them, hating that he was about to do just as Nathanial had asked. “You know things other people don’t. You’re different. But you’re not the only one. We aren’t normal, either one of us.” He pulled the pistol from his waistband and showed it to Aidan. “How many guys you know get a pistol served with breakfast?”
Aidan reached for it and ejected the magazine. When he saw it was full, he raised his eyebrows at his brother.
“Yeah,” Kaelin said, taking the gun back. He drew in a breath and took a leap. “You saw Mom, back there at home. Something’s wrong with her, something bad. If Nathanial meant to kill her, he would have done it then. I think he really is trying to help her.”
To Kaelin’s shock, Aidan didn’t argue. “Why? Why would he do that?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he still loves her. Maybe it’s for us. But I believe he wants her safe.”
Aidan stared at Kaelin, their faces close. “What he wants is to come between us, and you’re letting him.”
He should have known better than to try to trick his brother. Kaelin sighed and went for blunt honesty instead. “Come on, bro. Think. Nathanial assigned us to the strike team because he wants someone on his side. Besides, if he wanted us all dead, he’d have just arranged a hit and had it done.”
Breath hissed through Aidan’s lips. Kaelin realized he was trembling.
“You don’t have to trust him, but trust me.” For the first time in years, Kaelin put his arms around his brother and hugged him. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you or Mom, I swear it."
Thanks for being my guest today, Betsy. And an extra thanks for giving away a copy of Archive of Fire. Those who comment on this post by noon Mountain Time Friday (January 6th) will be entered in the drawing. We'll announce the winner here by Saturday noon.
To learn more about Betsy and her new Sentinel series, visit her blog Sex Scenes at Starbucks. Betsy can also be found at Facebook and Twitter.